Re: Handbooks and Literature
Nathan Alan Beauheim (beauheim@CAE.WISC.EDU)
Sat, 22 Nov 1997 17:13:56 -0600
> Earlier in the week we had some discussion of how BSA Handbooks and
> Literature have changed over the years. There were some comments about
> some of the things that used to be there that are missed and some
> thoughts about what be good to have in a Patrol Leader Handbook, the BSA
> Handbook, the Scoutmaster Handbook, etc.
> Well as things would have it, I ended up chatting with one of the folks I
> know who serves at the National level and who would be happy to take a
> look at ideas I receive from Scouters and Scouts.
> If you have ideas on what would help make the handbooks more useful to
> Scouts and Scouters, things that ought to be included, things that
> aren't particularly useful, things you'd like to see, please take a
> minute to hit the keyboard and share your ideas. If you want to send
> them to me privately or share an idea with the list to see how others
> feel, I'll see that your comments get forwarded on to my contact at National.
Well, I'm not an old phogey, but a few years ago I received a windfall of old
books from a former troop. Anyways, this thread inspired me to pull out my
Second Edition Fieldbook and compare it to my early 10th Handbook. Guess what:
the old Fieldbook is much, MUCH more useful than the Handbook. Why?
1) It actually tells you how to do stuff. Instead of referring me to the
Pioneering Merit Badge book to see Pioneering Projects or to the Cooking Merit
Badge book for Recipies and how-tos, it tells me how to do it, gives me ideas,
inspires me to try new things, and THEN tells me to also check the Merit Badge
Books. Merit Badge books are great (some are at least), but I don't take them
with me camping. I want a book that will tell me how to do more than the basics
(the current handbook), yet not get into expert level (Merit Badge book). The
current Handbook says, Yeah, this is cooking. We do it on campouts, normally
over a fire or a campstove. Sometimes we use charcoal and dutch ovens. It's
fun. Try it. Wheseas the old Fieldbook includes possible menus, scenarios for
how things work, instructions, WHY we do some of things we do the way we do, and
the advice to consult non-Scouting references (Including the slightly sexist,
but always good "Ask your Mother.")
2) It has photos of Scouts, IN UNIFORM, doing the things written about.
A) Now maybe this is just a pet peave, but there aren't a dozen photos in the
current handbook showing Scouts wearing their uniforms. (According to National,
the Field/"Class A" Uniform is the only uniform). They're all wearing "Class
B"'s or civies. OTOH, in the old Fieldbook, you'd be hardpressed to find a
dozen pictures where they're NOT wearing their uniforms. If National is de
facto acknowledging that the uniforms are ill-suited for wearing while camping
by not showing them, maybe it's time to get some sturdy unifroms. But, let's
not get into that again.
B) The current handbook uses mainly drawings to show things. That's all well
and good, but I like PHOTOS. I know BSA has photographers, I met one at
Jamboree. A well done photo will say much more than a well-done drawing, if
nothing else in what shows up in the background. Something you see slightly
out-of-focus in the background of a photo can open up whole avenues never before
Sorry about the length, but...
firstname.lastname@example.org (My new email address)
ASM, Troop 140, Middleton WI
> Speaking only for myself in the Scouting Spirit, Michael F. Bowman
> E-mail: email@example.com Visit: ftp1.scouter.com/usscouts
> U. S. Scouting Service Project FTP Site Administrator (PC Area)
> Helping to deliver the promise of Scouting from Alexandria, Virginia
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City